Rishabh Pant can be another Gilchrist: Kiran More

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 19, 2018 03:27 PM IST

Chennai, July 19:  Former India keeper and chief selector Kiran More, said that investing in Rishabh Pant is good for team India after he was selected in the Indian Test squad for the series against England.

More, who has trained Pant and other new generation of stumpers at National Cricket Academy (NCA), backed his selection, but although felt that including him in the limited-overs side would have helped him.

"He is exceptional and was playing for India A in England. But he could have been drafted in for the ODIs or T20s in the lead-up to this series. Having said that, it is good they are investing in him and carrying him with the team. He has the potential to be as dangerous as Adam Gilchrist batting at No 6 and 7," said More.

Pant is the sole fresh face in the 18-man squad, who has finally been rewarded for his domestic performances, including the IPL.

Rishabh Pant has however been called up as a specialist batsman with Dinesh Karthik set to don the gloves as a specialist keeper in the place of Wriddhiman Saha who continues to miss out following a thumb injury sustained during the IPL.

Pant was first noticed during the 2016 U-19 World Cup where he made a mark by smashing a record-breaking fastest fifty against Nepal and followed it up with a century against Namibia.

A year after making his Ranji Trophy debut at the age of 18 in 2015, Pant, broke first-class records by scoring triple-hundred against Maharashtra and a blistering 48-ball hundred against Jharkhand in the 2016-17 first-class season.

With scintillating performances it was hard for the selectors to ignore him from being selected for the Indian team and being a wicket-keeper, selectors decided to induce the fresh blood into the team as an understudy to MS Dhoni. In January 2017, he was rewarded with a call-up to India's T20 squad for the three home matches against England.

Having played four T20 internationals for India, Pant had a breakthrough season in IPL 2018, amassing 684 runs at an average of 52 with a century and six half-centuries. He, however, could not find a place in India's limited-overs side for the series against England.

Playing for India A against England, he scored two-fifties in the series including a match-winning knock of an unbeaten 67 that helped India A win the tri-series. He had made an unbeaten 67 off 71 in the second unofficial Test against West Indies A at Taunton last week, helping his team pull off a five-wicket victory and the series win.

With such good performances, he has earned a place in the Test squad. Despite the option of bringing back an in-form Rohit into the side, the selectors went for infusing young blood instead.

Pant currently averages 54.16 in 22 First-Class games. Adjusting to the English conditions won't be an issue for Pant as he has already been there with the A team in England for a month.